Herearoha Skipper

Ko Kerepēhi, ko Makomako, ko Wharekawa, ko Piritahi ngā marae
Ko Ngāti Pāoa te iwi.
Ko Ngāti Horowhenua, ko Ngāi Te Umu, ko Ngāti Kapu, ko Ngāti Hura, Ngāti Tipa ngā hapū
Ko Hapu-a-kohe, ko Kohukohunui, ko Maunganui ngā maunga
Ko Piako me Whakatiwai ngā awa,
Ko Tikapakapa te moana,
Ko Hauraki te whenua

I am mother of seven and 6 mokopuna, I have had a long running career in senior leadership at University of Waikato spanning 22 years, runs my own business, and am a trustee on the Ngāti Pāoa Iwi Trust, and led the Waiheke Rāhui.

My whakapapa links to Waiheke is through Ngāti Hura and Ngāti Kapu, her tupuna Henare Te Tuatua and his son Tamehana Horowhenua Peeke (born in 1825 at Waitakaruru), who lived on Waiheke for many years. The name `Peeke/Baggs’ is a nick name, Tamehana got this name through carrying bags of kūmara around the rohe, from house to house to raise an income from trading. Tamehana’s kāinga was near Te Huruhi.

My community link is through her grandfather, Graham Henry Tawhai from Ngāpuhi, who moved to Waiheke in 1958 when her mother was a child and they grew up on the island. ‘My grandfather built his home on Burrell Road in Oneroa. We lived in Surfdale
and my parents paid $5 rent back in the 70’s and they couldn’t really afford it, therefore the moana was our pātaka kai.’

My grandfather built many of the homes on the island, as well as Piritahi marae. The meaning behind the name of the house relates to the marriage between Riria Takarangi (Ngāti Pāoa) and the famous Ngāpuhi fighting chief, Eruera Maihi Patuone, held in 1833, to cement the peace between the two tribes. Hence the name `Kia Piritahi’ in remembrance of the union between two iwi. They both lived at Okahuiti Pā near Pūtiki Bay. I am a descendant of both Patuone and Riria.

‘I’ve spent several years hosting whānau reo wānanga at all our marae across Hauraki to ensure that our kawa and tikanga is upheld for future generations and learning our whakapapa and historical narratives passed down from our tupuna. I see myself as a servant to the people and our vision is to bring our Ngāti Pāoa people back to Te Motuārai-roa. Kia noho pūmau ki te whenua me te moana. Ko te tino rangatiratanga me te mana motuhake te tino wawata mō ngā uri whakaheke.’

I am currently working on a collaborative iwi-led project.Its the first-of-its-kind which brings together an all-Māori research team of revered traditional mātauranga Māori environmental experts with contemporary kaupapa Māori scientists, academics, iwi practitioners, environmentalists and rangatahi. This intergenerational project will be a coproduction across iwi experiencing similar catastrophic impacts in the moana to embark on innovative, replicable, pragmatic, in-water, mātauranga Māori solutions and actions to assist the regeneration and restoration of rohe moana. Heoti anō rā, tēnei te mihi manahau ki a koutou katoa. Nō reira, e ngā reo, e ngā mana, e ngā matāwaka, mā te tauwhirotanga o te wāhi ngaro hei manaaki hei arataki i a tātou katoa.